Chemical Trends Report EU chemicals sector market plagued by weak growth rates
The European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) chemical trends report shows a continuation of the EU chemicals market slump. In the first half of 2015, European chemical output grew by just 0.2 per cent relative to the same period in 2014. Contributing factors include a downturn in chemical prices and sales and stiff competition from foreign markets.
Brussels/Belgium – The October chemical trends report of the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) describes a persisting stagnation in EU chemical production through July of 2015. Output growth of 0.2 per cent was accompanied by a 4.6 per cent decline in chemical prices and a 3.1 per cent drop in sales during the first half of the year. Still, a net positive trade balance of € 773 million during the first six months of 2015 was measured despite a restructuring in trading partnerships – most notably the fall in net exports to Russia and China. Nevertheless, sector employment rose slightly in the second quarter of 2015 to 1,173 million people.
The overall modest to poor market numbers of the European chemical industry have resulted in CEFIC adjusting downward the industry’s growth prospects within the EU for this and next year. This trend is expected to continue longterm, with a decline in global market share anticipated through to 2030. Underlying causes remain the slow recovery of the EU economy from the 2009 recession and the region’s higher energy costs compared to the U.S., Asia and the Middle East.
As a further consequence of the industry’s continued weak market performance the annual General Assembly of CEFIC concluded its annual meeting with position statements addressing upcoming changes in industry regulation. It urged EU policymakers to come to an ambitious deal at the December UN climate conference while ensuring a global level playing field between all major economies. At EU level, the reform of the Emissions Trading System (ETS) should allow the European chemical industry to stay competitive as an energy-intensive business, to avoid investments flowing to countries where carbon emissions are less regulated.